Above all, know what is news.
Media outlets are interested in what matters to the community—not just your affiliated fund. Here are some angles you may want to think about when pitching a story to your local media:
- Special Events: What makes the event “special”? The speaker, the award winner, a milestone you have reached? Why would it interest the general public?
- Services and Programs: Keep track of how many people you have helped and in what ways your affiliated fund has supported the community during the past year. The media are interested in these kinds of numbers as well as the dollars you have raised and granted.
- Studies: Use national and regional research, studies and reports as a launching point to tie the work of your affiliated to larger issues. Perhaps your local newspaper may be interested in partnering with your fund to conduct a community attitude survey about factors impacting your mission.
- Donors and Volunteers: Are there human interest stories about individuals who have an inspiring story to tell?
- Fundraising: Have you launched a campaign, succeeded in reaching your goal, or seen a dramatic change in the level of contributions? Remember to tell the story about how the money will be used, not just the dollars raised. Be specific and use details to paint a picture with words.
- Partnerships: Are you collaborating with another organization or forming a special task force to address a community challenge or opportunity, above and beyond just raising and granting funds?
- Operations: Have you recently completed action planning or revisited your mission statement? How has this changed your fund’s activities?
- Leadership: Have you recently elected new Fund Advisory Committee members? Share this news by talking about the attributes and aspirations of these new leaders and include quotes.
- Addressing Needs: Has your affiliated fund come to the rescue or been the first to respond to a community need or opportunity?
- Be kind! These professionals are probably working on shoestring budgets and tight deadlines. Bringing them some fresh baked cookies when you approach them about your story can’t hurt!